Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Survival on Campus

 I cropper out the buildings so I can pretend this is a natural habitat.  The key to deer survival on campus is well-watered lawns, lots of edible shrubs on the edges, and a lack of nearby predators.  I saw this group when I arrived in the morning.  As I left in the afternoon, I startled a doe and fawn behind the building that houses the nursing program. (I haven't yet learned the names of the buildings.  The doe stood her ground.  She was apparently certain I was not a predator.
 A few yards away, I walked down into a ditch which is mostly the remnants of one of the original creeks that drained the canyon which the college occupies.  The original creek is mostly dry, but this stretch has a steady flow of water that is runoff from watering the field the deer above are visiting.  Thus, the Monkeyflower think it's still spring.  Along all the creeks in the area that have dried up for summer, the Monkeyflower bloomed months ago and are now brown and bearing seed pods.
 Here's a somewhat stunted Yarrow.  They normally bloom at a height of two to four feet, but this one, staging a comeback since the last lawn mowing, is blooming at a height of six inches.  Near the edge of the lawn that adjoins a concrete-bound creek, the lawnmower flattened a Yarrow that had already reached a height of three feet, then a series of branches performed a classic example of
 negative geotropism and pointing skyward.  I love these stubborn survival mechanisms.
 Chamomile seems to be pretty abundant as a weed in dry areas that are not being cared for.  Nice.
A well camouflaged Bluebelly lizard has found a lichen-covered rock which is actually a part of the landscaping around the library.  Nearby are many plants like the Rabbitbrush which attract a steady supply of insect food for the lizard.  The lizard seemed pretty tame, apparently confident of his safety.

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